SEPC Southern Exposure 2021: NC Ag department to tell a diverse story


The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will once again be an exhibitor at the Southeast Produce Council’s South Show, based in Millen, Georgia.

The theme of this year’s show will be The Rampage of Products at the April 6-8 event in Orlando, Florida.

(Register here.)

“With the innovative skills that all farmers and commodity suppliers need to have to stay competitive and profitable, we’re pretty sure there will be new things to showcase at the show,” Tommy Fleetwood, Agricultural Marketing Manager, Department of North Carolina Agriculture and Consumer Services mentioned.

North Carolina potato growers supply round white, red, and yellow varieties for the fresh market, as well as potatoes for the crisps market.

“We exhibited for the first few years of the show, and then when state budgets got really tight, we didn’t exhibit for a few years,” Fleetwood said. “Then we were on the stand waiting list for a few years and walked through the show during that time. We had the opportunity to come back to the show as exhibitors about 10 years ago.

Virtual stand

Like other companies, many in the food industry have taken a crash course in how to conduct marketing virtually due to remote working due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fleetwood said the department’s virtual booth for Southern Exposure will attract attendees familiar with the in-person experience of the event.

“I’m hard to replace being in person on the show,” Fleetwood helps. “From what I have seen over the past 25 years, the fruit and vegetable industry is a network of friendships and relationships of suppliers and buyers who depend on each other to be successful in their business. and their business. Of course, there’s nothing better than face-to-face meetings for these relationships, but for those who can’t be in person, the virtual experience will be great for them.

Fleetwood said the North Carolina Department of Agriculture virtual booth will showcase the diversity of North Carolina agriculture while presenting information to attendees who are unaware of what growers and suppliers of North Carolina produce.

“We are the third most agriculturally diverse state in the United States and we are located along the East Coast to deliver products to 65% of the American population within 24 hours,” he said. . “Some North Carolina companies will be exhibiting at the NCDA booth, and some people will be available virtually.”

Best Sweet Potato Producer

North Carolina growers can boast that Tarheel State is the largest producer of Sweet potatoes in the United States, North Carolina farmers producing more than half of all the sweet potatoes grown in the country at 1.7 billion pounds per year. The counties of Nash, Sampson, Johnston, Wilson and Edgecombe are the main sweet potato producing countries.

Seven other vegetable crops The cultivated North Carolina which ranks among the top 10 producing states in the United States are:

  • Cabbage – North Carolina ranks ninth nationally for cabbage production, with growers supplying 70 million pounds of head cabbage each year. Most cabbages grow in Pasquotank and Wilson counties.
  • Cantaloupe – North Carolina ranks seventh in the country for cantaloupe, with Wilson County at the top of the list for cantaloupe production (which produces 20 million pounds of cantaloupe per year).
  • Cucumbers – North Carolina ranks fifth in the country for cucumber production, growing 149 million pounds. Sampson County is the state’s production leader.
  • Pumpkins – North Carolina is fourth in the country for pumpkin production, at nearly 94 million pounds per year. Allegheny County is North Carolina’s largest producer.
  • To crush – North Carolina ranks eighth in the United States for squash production, growing over 21 million pounds. Cleveland County is the leader in squash production.
  • Tomatoes – North Carolina ranks seventh in the country for tomatoes. The state’s largest tomato-producing county is Henderson County, and the state’s growers supply 96 million pounds of tomatoes annually.
  • Watermelon – North Carolina ranks eighth nationally in watermelon, growing over 144 million pounds of watermelon per year. Wayne County produces the most watermelons in the state.

Departmental mission

The regulatory and service responsibilities of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services include:

  • compilation of crop statistics
  • facilitate the distribution of USDA commodities
  • food safety testing
  • agricultural marketing and promotion (national and international)
  • agricultural marketing ranking
  • operation of four state farmers’ markets
  • research stations
  • nursery and plant pest eradication activities
  • agricultural environmental problems
  • and agricultural economic analysis.

More coverage of the southern exposure!

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